Brian Steensland is Professor and Chair of Sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). His areas of interest include religion, culture, politics, and civic life in contemporary American society. His books include Situating Spirituality: Context, Practice, and Power (Oxford, 2022), co-edited with Jaime Kucinskas and Anna Sun; The New Evangelical Social Engagement (Oxford, 2014), co-edited with Philip Goff; and The Failed Welfare Revolution: America’s Struggle over Guaranteed Income Policy (Princeton, 2008), which won both the Mary Douglas Prize for cultural sociology and the Distinguished Book Award in political sociology. His co-authored article “The Measure of American Religion” (Social Forces, 2000) won the Best Article Award in the Sociology of Religion. His article “Cultural Categories and the American Welfare State” (American Journal of Sociology, 2006) won the Best Article Award in the Sociology of Culture.
Steensland’s current research focuses on spirituality and religious pluralism.
He serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal for the Social Scientific Study of Religion and has served on Council for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and as Chair of the Sociology of Religion section for the American Sociological Association. He is a Research Director at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. From 2016-2020, he was Director of IU’s Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics, and Society.
Steensland has taught undergraduate courses on sociology of religion, social problems, social theory, and introduction to sociology, and graduate seminars on sociological theory, sociology of religion, cultural analysis, political sociology, and textual analysis. He has twice won Indiana University’s Trustee’s Teaching Award and also received the Edwin H. Sutherland Excellence in Teaching Award.
From 2002 to 2014, Steensland was Assistant and Associate Professor in the sociology department at Indiana University-Bloomington. He received his PhD in sociology from Princeton University in 2002.